Canberra ACT, Australia, 13 January 2017 | David Packman

Israeli Dudi Sela has backed up his semifinal appearance at the ATP 250 event in Chennai last week by reaching the final of the East Hotel Canberra Challenger 2017 on Friday.

The eighth seed withstood the hot and gusty conditions to defeat Colombian 33-year-old Alejandro Falla 6-4 2-6 6-1.

“It was tough to play today,” Sela, the current world No.87, said. “The match was up and down, but in the third set I played pretty well. In Chennai I played very good too and in the semifinal I had a match point to go to the final which was a bit disappointing. So I’m happy this week to make the final.

“It’s very important with my ranking to make enough points in the beginning of the year so I can play the bigger tournaments.

Sela, 31, was also responsible for ousting the last remaining Australian, when he defeated Sam Groth 7-6(5) 6-2 at the quarterfinal stage.

Gunning for his 21st ATP Challenger title, Sela will take on German top seed Jan-Lennard Struff, an earlier straight sets winner over Steve Darcis of Belgium.

The pair last met in the opening round of the 2015 Australian Open where Sela was victorious in an epic five-set battle.

“That was a very close match,” Sela recalled. “He is a very good striker of the ball and the courts here in Canberra are pretty quick so I think it’s going to be difficult. I’m going to try my best.”

Struff will be looking to make it a perfect week in Canberra after he partnered with countryman Andre Begeman to take the doubles title on Friday. The third seeds had too much firepower for the unseeded Argentinians Carlos Berlocq and Andres Molteni, winning in straight sets 6-3 6-4.

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